Keeping you informed of happenings around the New York Conference, UCC.

Happenings Around Our Conference
My Thoughts

Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
"It's cancer." The two scariest words that no individual ever wants to hear. When I heard them this past February, I swear I literally felt the earth shift beneath my feet. It's one of those moments where, even without all the details, your head begins spinning and your mind starts envisioning every awful and evil sick image imaginable. Here I was, nine months into a new job, in a new city where I hardly know anyone, and my daughter just entering her first year of graduate school and still somewhat dependent on me. God knows I didn't have time to be sick and incapacitated, especially with something as complicated as cancer. No, this definitely did not fit into my New Year's agenda.

My rugged individualist upbringing has always led me to hold my cards close and not do a lot of personal sharing. However, when I did finally make my diagnosis public, I was utterly amazed at the outpouring of love and support I have received from all across the state. For this I am extremely grateful. I discovered that the NY Conference is filled with countless women who are in treatment like me, or are courageous cancer survivors. I certainly was not alone. Aside from prayers that are felt daily, many offered encouragement, shared their experiences and given me suggestions on dealing with treatment side effects. I instantly became part of a unique sorority that I never knew existed. Proverbs 27:17 states: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." During this difficult and lonely time, I have been "sharpened" by the outpouring of prayers and support I have received from the women of the NY Conference.

I've decided that this blessing is too good to keep to myself. Like me, some of you are still in treatment and I want to provide all my "sisters" an opportunity to connect and be a source of support for one another. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will be hosting an online gathering for cancer survivors and any of my "sisters" who are still in the fight, every Thursday during the month of October. We will gather for one hour to share experiences, advice and sisterhood. I'm calling these gatherings "Sisters 4 Sisters." The meetings will take place using the online platform ZOOM at different times each Thursday, in an effort to include as many of us as possible. By God's grace, we are all survivors; let's take this opportunity to gather in support and solidarity. The ZOOM login link and meeting times are below. (I'll include the link each Wednesday in Happenings as a reminder).
Hope to see you then.

October 6, - 10:00 am
October 13 - 3:00 pm
October 20 - 5:00 pm
Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams
Associate Conference Minister for Clergy and Authorized Ministry Concerns
Supporting our Conference Staff

Co-pastors Stan Bennett and Karen Marshall from First Congregational UCC, Phoenix wear hats during worship in solidarity with visiting Associate Conference Minister,
Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams who is currently undergoing cancer treatments.

Resource: Israel-Palestine Just Peace

In 2015, the 30th General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted the resolution "A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."
This guide, prepared by the United Christ of Christ Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), provides resources to equip UCC lay and ordained faith leaders to study and implement the resolution. The resolution's goal is to contribute to ending the Israeli military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The UCC resolution does not call for a blanket divestment or boycott of Israel. Rather, it calls only for divestment from companies which are complicit in or profit from human rights violations arising from occupation of the Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel, and for boycott of products produced in illegal Israeli settlements located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Click below to read the complete guide:
Installation this Sunday in Hudson-Mohawk

Hudson-Mohawk Association of the New York Conference, United Church of Christ  invites you to the service of installation for Rev. Kate Forer. The service will be Sunday, September 18 at 4:30 p.m. at Presbyterian New England Congregation Church, 24 Circular Street, Saratoga Springs. Clergy are invited to process, wearing red vestments. Please gather in the Fellowship Hall at 4:15 p.m. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.
Apply Now for Chautauqua Chaplains

The Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society is seeking nine UCC clergy to serve as Chaplain of the Week during the summer of 2017. Each chaplain serves during one week, Saturday through Saturday, during the regular Chautauqua summer season. For information about schedules and themes, please see As Chaplain of the Week, you are expected to preach and lead worship on Sunday at the denominational service, briefly share your story during a social hour, lead an evening vesper service and participate in community life with our guests. You will receive housing, two gate passes, and parking pass. Applications are available on our website at The deadline for application is November 30.
Seeking a Mason

The front steps at the Conference Offices in DeWitt are crumbling. The conference staff is looking for a mason who would be willing to volunteer their time and talents to help with this. Anyone willing to help should contact Sueli Gaewsky: or 315-446-3073.
Concert to End Gun Violence

In the Footsteps of Jesus
Alternative Tour to Palestine & Israel
February 10-21, 2017      
A Global Ministries People-to-People Experience   
Alternative (responsible) travel seeks to transform curious tourists into informed pilgrims by engaging the people who live in the land - and the history, culture, and social realities that shape their lives.   
As the tour title suggests, many of the first-century conditions that shaped Jesus' life and ministry continue to shape the lives of Palestinians and Israelis today.   In addition to exploring the holy stones - the historic places and sites that have defined the three monotheistic faiths - participants will engage the Living Stones: Jews, Muslims and Christians who live in the land.
Experienced tour leaders Jeff & Janet Wright have served as short-term missionaries to Israel/Palestine through the Disciples of Christ/UCC Global Ministries.  Janet is a licensed clinical social worker.  Working near Bethlehem, she and colleagues created an all-Arab training team in EMDR.  Jeff is recently retired as lead pastor of Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Fort Collins, Colorado.  The tour will be accompanied by a professional, local guide. 
To facilitate conversation, take advantage of unplanned opportunities and provide a more enriching experience, tour size is limited to around two dozen persons.  Participants will: explore the holy sites of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and  Nazareth; visit the Abrahamic mosque and divided city of Hebron; tour Jericho, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and more; learn from Global Ministries mission partners ( ); meet and discuss differing perspectives on the current political situation with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders.  Some meetings on the itinerary are subject to change due to speakers' availability and other conditions; substitutions of similar interest and quality are made.
Travel arrangements have been made through the award-winning Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies ( ). 
Overnight accommodations are clean, comfortable and modest, booked to maximize our contact with the Living Stones and make the tour more affordable.  Past tour participants have rated the tour experience very highly.  Cost of the February 2017 tour (based on twenty participants and excluding airfare) is $2040.   For more information, contact the Wrights ( ) or check out their website, .

Open and Affirming Workshop

We will be holding an Open and Affirming Workshop
at Journey UCC, Glenmont, NY
on October 22 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Details and registration to follow soon.
Faith for a Fair NY 2016 Conference
September 25-27, Syracuse

New Yorkers of all faiths are compelled by our traditions to seek justice. How do we do so faithfully and effectively in a time of increasing inequality, poverty and ideological division?
Over three days of presentations, workshops, and small group reflection, we will:
  • Build connections with other justice-seeking New Yorkers from different regions and faiths
  • Build knowledge of issues and movements through a moral/faith-rooted lens
  • Build the capacity to do justice work through skills training and strategic reflection
  • Be energized and inspired to continue working for justice - or to get involved for the first time
Sacred Conversations on Race: Next Steps

Justice and Witness Ministries Coordinator Rev. Emily McNeill is looking to coordinate reading/discussion groups in each association to further the conference's engagement on issues of racism and white privilege. Are you interested in learning more or getting involved? Contact Emily at .

Staff Preaching Schedule

Rev. David R Gaewski
September 18 - Epiphany UCC, Clarence Center
September 25 - Park Avenue Christian, Manhattan
Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine
September 18 - Homer Congregational Church, UCC
Opportunities for Education

Registration closes Wednesday, September 21 for the Authorized Minister's Fall Retreat. This year's theme is "Authenticity and Vulnerability in Ministry."

The retreat is October 3-5 at Stony Point Retreat Center, Story Point, NY. Presenters are Rev. Holly Miller-Shank and Rev. Dani Loving Cartwright.

Click here to register if you want to stay in a double room, $195 per person.
Click here to register if you want to stay in a single room, $260 per person. (Availability limited)

For questions or more information, contact Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams, Associate Conference Minister for Clergy and Authorized Ministry Concerns: or 845-500-5082.

Bowen Training 3 - Applications of a Differentiation Based Model with Couples
Wednesday September 21, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM EDT

First Reformed Church of Scotia
224 North Ballston Ave
Scotia, NY 12302

Driving Directions

$50 - 4 CEU's

September 21, 2016
9AM - 1PM

Registration begins at 8:30

Presented By:
David Olsen, PhD, LCSW, LMFT
Executive Director

Erin Belanger, LMHC
Director of Training and Development

Part III will explore how to use Bowen's notion of differentiation as a key concept in working with couples. Borrowing from Murray Bowen, Peter Titelman, and David Schnarch, the workshop will explore practical applications of Bowen theory to working with Couples.

Due to scheduling difficulties, Dr Steven Sandage will be with us in the spring.

Get more information
Register Now!

Global Missionary Available to Speak

The Rev. Judy Chan, who has served with Global Ministries for 22 years will be available to speak to congregations and groups around the New York Conference from Saturday, Oct. 22-Wednesday, Nov. 9.   All her Sunday mornings are filled, but she still has some availability on other days.  She is available in the Western Region October 25-29&31; In the Central Region and Hudson Mohawk Nov. 3-4 and in Metro-Suffolk Nov. 5, 7-10.

Judy serves with the Hong Kong Christian Council, as a communications Specialist in charge of Ecumenical Broadcasting Ministry and Editor of English publications and speaks fluent Cantonese.  She has a powerpoint with pictures of her work and enjoys meeting with small groups.  Congregations can sponsor daytime or evening programs with coffee and cake or potlucks.  Women's, men's, youth groups, or Bible studies are also a possibility, as is inviting her to speak to a clergy group, an open meeting of a mission committee, or simply a group of interested people. If you would like to schedule Judy or have questions, contact Kay Woike:; 716-834-9781 or 716-308-7719.
News from Our Committees
Stewardship Committee
Ideas for Resources Teaching Stewardship to Children from the Church of the Nazarene, including teaching activities, sermon ideas and projects.

From the New Community Project Sunday School Lessons: God's Early, Our Home for Elementary through High School

Fun ministry idea to teach kids stewardship from the United Methodist Church

Stewardship with Children from the Center for Faith and Giving

Upcoming  stewardship webinars:
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern
Leader: Grace Duddy Pomroy

Support the New York Conference
Covenant Share

Covenant Share is the Special Offering approved by the New York Conference in 2013. This offering can be taken up any time during the year. Covenant Share is to be received in the manner as One Great Hour of Sharing and Neighbors in Need. The Covenant Share Offering makes possible ministries specific to the United Church of Christ in New York.

Click to Learn More and Support:
Amazon Smile
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the  New York Conference of United Church of Christ  whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Click to Sign Up:
Donate Directly

Make your contribution to the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ today.

Join Us in Ministry:
What's Happening at Your Local Church?

Do you have an item of news that you would like to share throughout the New York Conference? Please email our Communications Coordinator at and send the details - preferably with links and pictures!
Please note that the New York Conference does not publish news related to fundraisers.
New York Conference | United Church of Christ
315-446-3073 | |